John Kerry Clears State Dept. Officials Suspended Over Benghazi

Secretary of State John Kerry has cleared four State Department officials placed on administrative leave after the terror assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the Daily Beast reported.

The four officials were suspended in December by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after the release of the department’s internal Benghazi investigation by the Administrative Review Board. Kerry determined the four officials, all mid-level employees, “do not deserve any formal disciplinary action” and are cleared to return to work, according to the Daily Beast.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport on Friday, July 19, 2013. Kerry has cleared four State Department officials suspended over the Benghazi terror attack to return to work. (AP)

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond Maxwell told the site he received notice from human resources informing him his administrative leave had been lifted and to go back to work Tuesday.

“No explanation, no briefing, just come back to work. So I will go in tomorrow,” Maxwell, the only official from the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau to be punished over Benghazi, said Monday.

Maxwell previously spoke out scathingly about his suspension, saying he had no role in the security issues at the Benghazi complex and accused Clinton of making him a scapegoat. Maxwell also wrote poems on his personal blog about the scandal, describing his removal along with the other three as a “lynching.”

“They just wanted me to go away but I wouldn’t just go away,” he said in May. “I knew Chris [Stevens]. Chris was a friend of mine.”

Assistant Secretary Eric Boswell and Deputy Assistant Secretary Charlene Lamb from the Diplomatic Security Bureau were among the others placed on leave.

A senior State Department official confirmed to the Daily Beast that all four officials were cleared to return to their regular jobs. The administrative leave had not been a formal punishment, but barred them from going back to work.

“As soon as he came into the department, Secretary Kerry wanted to invest the time to review the ARB’s findings and match those against his own on-the-job findings about security,” the official told the Daily Beast. “He’s been hands-on focused on building on the lessons learned from the Benghazi attack to strengthen security at missions world-wide and continue the ARB’s security paradigm shift.”